Meet the locally modded Toyota Altezza
If you played any of the Need for Speed games in the late 90s and early 2000s, you may recall seeing the Lexus IS300. But is it a Toyota or a Lexus? The answer is both. Lexus is actually a subdivision of Toyota, and the IS series was originally manufactured by Toyota and called the Toyota Altezza. Fun fact for Initial D fans: the engineering work of the Altezza was led by Nobuaki Katayama, the person in charge of the AE86 project. The name Altezza means height or highness. The Altezza came in a plethora of variants, including the IS200, IS300, RS200, AS200, and AS300, with the RS200 featuring a 3SGE engine, the IS200 and AS200 sharing a 1GFE engine, and the AS300 and IS300 sharing a non-turbo, VVTI version of the 2JZGE.
Now, let's talk about this Altezza owned by local car enthusiast Ishan Gausul. It's a 1999 model that began its life as an RS200, and in 2017, it was the only dual-tone Altezza in Bangladesh. Fast forward six years, and it's a whole different car now. The exterior is quite minimalistic and OEM-esque, with an aftermarket TRD Neo version 1 bumper in the front, TRD-style side skirts, a TRD rear bumper, and an OEM spoiler. The paint has also been changed to multi-shade white, and the rims are genuine 18-inch rims from a 350z, providing a next-to-perfect fitment. Inside, the OEM-esque theme continues, with the car originally featuring leather-powered seats with airbags and a sunroof. However, the Blitz SBC-IDIII boost controller and Zeitronix AFR gauge have been added around the steering wheel, giving it an aftermarket-ish touch. For the pleasure of music, the sound system has been completely changed to Pioneer's sound system.
Overall, factory 3SGEs are good and reliable engines, but they can be a bit lacklustre in terms of torque. This Altezza's engine has been upgraded to a 1JZGTE, the younger, turbocharged sibling of the 2JZGE. Altezzas from the factory never came turbocharged, although TRD (Toyota Racing Department) sold aftermarket parts like turbo kits and other performance parts for the 3SGE engine.
The engine wasn't the only thing that was changed; the wiring, gearbox, and everything else had to be swapped too. The engine, wiring, and transmission all came from a JZX110. The transmission is an R154, used in almost all the manual 1JZs, and the differential, shaft, and entire braking system are from the JZX110, except for the brake lines and brake pads, which are from Endless and Project MU, respectively.
Since the brakes that come with an RS200 aren't capable of stopping the car at high cruising speeds, upgrading them is always a good idea, especially when undertaking projects like this. The ECU is ECUMASTER's standalone ECU for JZX110, which was recently tuned. The intercooler has been upgraded to an Apexi intercooler for more efficient cooling, which in turn increases power, and a Cusco cooling plate has been added for good measure.
A Varex sound-controlled exhaust with a 3-inch de-cat and custom downpipe has also been installed, which helps increase power with the combination of an HKS mushroom air filter that makes the engine breathe more. To maintain the perfect air-to-fuel ratio, the engine requires more fuel as more air enters it, and that's why the injectors and fuel pump were upgraded to accommodate the higher airflow. Since the car already had JZX injectors, the only thing needed was a more powerful fuel pump, and a 255l/h pump was installed.
The Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tires on all four wheels and a fully functional TRC system with a module from a JZX110 ensure that all of this power is transferred to the ground. Most RWD cars these days either skimp on high-quality tires or a fully functional TRC system, which causes them to lose traction and spin out, leading to crashes. To add stability to the car, Cusco sway bars and Insurance coilovers were installed.
Ishan is thrilled with the car's performance so far, as he hasn't experienced any error codes, which are common in project cars. With a maximum boost of 14 psi, the car gets a mileage of about 6.5-7 km/l inside Dhaka. With the aftermarket ECU, he plans to upgrade the turbo setup to a full Tomei setup and other components to chase even more horsepower.